Reminiscence (2021): Inception for People Who Like Being Bored

“Reminiscence” is written and directed by Lisa Joy (Westworld, Burn Notice) and stars Hugh Jackman (X-Men, The Greatest Showman), Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible – Fallout, The White Queen), Thandiwe Newton (Mission: Impossible II, Solo: A Star Wars Story), Cliff Curtis (Missing, Fear the Walking Dead), Marina de Tavira (Roma, Ana and Bruno), Daniel Wu (Into the Badlands, Tomb Raider) and this film is set in the future when climate change has severely affected Miami. During this time, Nick Bannister (Hugh Jackman) is part of a business responsible for a machine called the tank, which allows people to go back in time and see older memories. One day, a client named Mae comes in looking for her missing keys. Shortly after, Nick and Mae become romantically involved, although Nick’s co-worker, Emily “Watts” Sanders does not trust Mae and wants to do anything she can to keep Nick from seeing her. In addition, Nick spends time revisiting past memories in the tank involving his love interest, which could trap him forever.

Well, that took some time to explain now didn’t it… I’ve been looking forward to “Reminiscence” for a number of reasons. It’s from my favorite studio, Warner Brothers, despite how they’ve stabbed the backs of theater owners this year. It’s got a decent cast with Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Ferguson in starring roles. But I also really like the concept this movie tries to deliver. Sometimes going into this movie, it would remind me and a few other people of a Christopher Nolan flick. In fact on the surface, it really does feel like that. The color grading and sets feel like something out of “Inception” or “Tenet,” and much like those two movies, this film has a concept that mixes action, romance, and transportation to another reality. The trailer for this film was not too bad, although I have seen better. The way they edited it though made it feel like it was somewhere outside our world even though it really was in our not so far future, and the action did look pretty sick.

Another reason why this looks like a Christopher Nolan movie… Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan’s brother, was one of the film’s producers. And this should not be surprising, after all, he is the director’s wife! Hollywood, everybody! It’s about WHO you know! Not always what ya know! Granted, Jonathan Nolan had no writing or directing credits by the end of the product, Lisa Joy wrote and directed this film on her own, but it would not surprise me if some of his touch made it into the final product.

But going back to what I said about “Inception” and “Tenet,” as much as I like both movies. And I do. …Very much. I would say that “Inception” is clearly the better film because at the end of “Tenet,” I’m left amazed, but also wondering how certain things came about in that film because it is one of the most beautifully confusing things I ever watched.

“Reminiscence,” to me, even though the concept was somewhat, well, reminiscent, of “Inception,” kind of felt like it belonged in the same category as “Tenet.” As a high-concept sci-fi film, it is nice to observe, but there were still some loose ends that needed tying.

That’s what I would say if “Reminiscence” weren’t so goddamn forgettable! I would have reviewed this earlier if I had the motivation and time, because I did watch this film days after it came out, but I waited until this point because this is just the way things lined up. And now that I’ve had as much time as I did to think about this film, I think I may have spent more time thinking about the film I watched before this one, “Don’t Breathe 2.”

I really like the concept of “Reminiscence.” To have people go back and revisit their favorite memories, especially in a future where it seems that there are no positive memories left to create, is fascinating. I honestly wish a machine like this existed because it does seem to be safer than time travel and there are fun memories that I would love to revisit for one reason or another. I would love to go back to my first visit to New York City or one of my flocks to Salisbury Beach. Those were fun times and I would love to relive those. In fact, the more I think about what this movie is trying to do, it kind of succeeds at communicating that people do not see rainbows and unicorns in the future and would do anything to revisit their past. I just wish the story involving all of these elements happened to be more attractive. You know, kind of like Rebecca Ferguson in this movie. Props to the costume design on this film, a couple of her looked legit.

“Reminiscence” does not have the best screenplay of the year. At least in terms of visual execution. But there is one line that is repeated throughout the film that I found intriguing.

“No such thing as a happy ending. All endings are sad. Especially if the story was happy.”

Believe it or not, there is some truth to that. This is perhaps a slightly more artistic way of saying “Nothing lasts forever,” or “We all die at some point,” or “There will come a day where you will hate something that ‘Star Wars’ puts out.” I think this is a great quote, even if the script leaves a bit to be desired.

Technically speaking, this is not a bad looking film. Some of the shots are majestic, and kind of have a feel that harkened back to not just the couple of Nolan films I mentioned, but I’d even bring up “Blade Runner” and “The Shape of Water” as goto comparisons.

If anything, “Reminiscence” was an idea that had wasted potential. Aside from the concept, which I mentioned earlier, the film comes in with a stacked cast from Hugh Jackman to Thandiwe Newton. These are all-stars, and they’re working on one of the most uninteresting sci-fi flicks of the past few years.. The one thing that I wonder is that even though Lisa Joy has been in the visual entertainment industry for some time, is if she was truly ready to take on a movie like this. Because most of her work has been through television. I’m not saying that Lisa Joy should be forbidden from directing, writing, or working on a film if she so desired, but I wondered how out of her comfort zone something like this could have been for her. What else has she directed? One episode of “Westworld?” Okay… I mean, I’ll say in her defense, HBO programming usually has a higher price tag, standard, and more cinematic feel compared to most television shows. I’ll give her that. But I think if you were to direct a film like this, which is not the most expensive thing in the world, but it is by no means cheap, I think you would want someone with more experience in the director’s chair to pull this off. I am glad that women are getting more opportunities to direct, but I wonder if Lisa Joy should have just stuck to the screenplay and let someone else bring her vision to life. Because despite my complaints about the screenplay, the original script for this film was on the 2013 Black List of most-liked unmade screenplays. This film had a lot going for it. I’m glad Lisa Joy could get her movie out there, but my god I wish it were better.

In the end, “Reminiscence” by no means the worst movie of the year. In fact, I think at this point I’d rather watch this again as opposed to some other recent Warner Brothers titles like “Space Jam: A New Legacy” and “Tom & Jerry.” Then again, this may come with a bias towards sci-fi. I had very little connection to the other two projects going into them with the exception of liking one of the trailers for the former. As for “Reminiscence,” it had plenty going for it from the marketing (even though they did not spend much money on it), the people in it, and the concept. But in the end, it all feels like a waste. I’m going to give “Reminiscence” a 4/10.

“Reminiscence” is now playing in theaters and it is also on the ad-free tier of HBO Max for a limited time.

Thanks for reading this review! I just want to let everyone know that my next review is going to be for “Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings.” I wanted to get this out a bit earlier, but life has been busy, so I’ve been holding this review off for some time. I do want to let everyone know that I already did see the movie, AND I am seeing it again tonight, which unfortunately may spoil part of my thoughts regarding the film itself, but either way, look forward to my review when it drops! Also, be sure to check out my review for “Malignant,” whenever that drops as well! If you want to see this and more on Scene Before, follow the blog either with an email or WordPress account! Also, check out the official Scene Before Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Reminiscence?” What did you think about it? Or, what is a film that you think has a great concept with terrible execution? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!


Tomb Raider (2018): A Step In the Right Direction For Video Game Movies


“Tomb Raider” is directed by Roar Uthaug and stars Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft. If you are not familiar with “Tomb Raider,” it’s a video game franchise that started back in 1996 and is still making games today. You play as Lara Croft throughout an action-adventure and puzzler. This is also not the first “Tomb Raider” movie. There have been two before this one starring Angelina Jolie, but that series didn’t last. This movie is more similar to the 2013 “Tomb Raider” game as opposed to the oldest ones. The plot is that Lara is the daughter of an adventurer, and unfortunately, this adventurer has disappeared. Now, Lara must push her own limits once she finds herself on the island where the adventurer, otherwise known as her father, disappeared.

I’ll remind all of you reading right now that this is a video game movie. In Layman’s terms, a movie you should usually avoid. People for years and years have been making several video game movies, and while I can’t really say I’ve seen all of them, heck, I can only say I’ve seen a few, I can say that one of them turned out to be my least favorite film of all time. That “film” by the way, is the 1993 “Super Mario Bros.” movie. When it comes to video game based films, the “Tomb Raider” franchise is no stranger to this. It already had a couple of movies out, but now it has been redone with a different actress playing the main character. I’ve actually seen bits and pieces of “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” in various YouTube videos and on TV. From what I’ve seen, I know it’s objectively dumb. But if you have the right mindset, it might come off as pure fun. That movie and its sequel seem to have some similarities to the older “Tomb Raider” games, but this “Tomb Raider” film seems to relate more to 2013’s “Tomb Raider” and is a little more serious. This movie feels more like “Wonder Woman” as opposed to say… I dunno, “xXx.” Does the seriousness work in this movie? I gotta say it does. And speaking of things working, I gotta say this movie as a whole works. I didn’t expect this movie to be as good as it was AT ALL. The teaser poster released months back looked terrible, the first trailer looked like s*it, and I was kind of skeptical about the girl who played Lara Croft. I mean, my fondness for her grew over time as I found out she plays Ava in “Ex Machina,” but leading up to this film’s release, I was skeptical of the turnout. But you know what? The quest is complete! We have an above average video game movie! Out of all the video game movies I’ve seen, this is the first I’m giving an above average score to. No you fools, I’m not counting “Tron” or “Wreck-It Ralph,” those were original!

Let’s talk about Alicia Vikander in this movie. I’ll mention once again that this movie is more like the 2013 “Tomb Raider” so with this character, you don’t really see her slinging guns at giant robots or running on walls while on wires, you just see her on an adventure. While I can’t fully compare this film and “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” side by side, Vikander’s character is a bit more heroic and warrior-like as opposed to Angelina Jolie’s character who might as well be a rock and roll superstar badass chick who makes you accept the fact that she can do literally anything. Here in this movie, you are given moments where you can emotionally attach yourself to Lara. You see her struggles, you feel her pain, and you root for her in just about any circumstance. Also, based on what I recently said, I will bring up that I’m NOT saying I DON’T think this movie’s Lara is a badass, but I’m also saying she’s a different type of badass. I’m not giving what exactly can be called a negative connotation to either character, but Vikander’s the type of badass that is relatable whereas Jolie’s the type of badass you can’t help but wonder what the hell is going to happen.

Another standout character to me in this film is played by Walter Goggins (The Shield, Justified) he goes by the name Mathias Vogel and if you played the 2013 video game you might be familiar with him. There was a moment I was watching the movie and I was reminded of something. You know how every once in a while I do a countdown on a certain topic? One of the ones I’ve planned to do for a long time is my most hated characters in movies. If I actually get around to doing that, Vogel might be a possibility. I can’t say he’ll make it for sure, but based on his attitude and some the s*it he does in this movie, major points goes to him on that, making him climb up the charts.

Now once again, this is a video game movie, meaning it has problems. And let’s face it, this movie’s boring. I don’t mean that from beginning to end, but there are various points where the movie felt like just dragged. I didn’t give a crap about what was going on, part of me didn’t even know what was going on, and I kind of didn’t want to know what was going on. Gosh, it’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” all over again!

Also speaking of video games, depending on what you play, you might think of those at times being these epic adventures where you can basically accomplish anything, even if it’s just by the smallest of seconds. This movie’s kind of like that too. You almost have to suspend your disbelief and just let certain things go at times. If you don’t play a lot of video games, you probably don’t know what I’m talking about. Just imagine someone trying to get from one side to the other and there’s no bridge or walkway. So you have to go back, and run as fast you can to the edge of the side you’re on, with the slightest amount of hope that you’ll make it to the other side. It looks like you’re gonna fail, you’re going to fall down a neverending abyss, but with your own two hands, you make contact with the edge of the other side, and you’re struggling to actually “make it over.” It’s just a climb away. With all your might, you climb! It takes ten seconds of your strength and willpower, but you have achieved the right to fight! This movie is like that sometimes. I was able to let it slide because for one thing, it’s based on a video game and video games are like that. But also because there’s a certain limit in my head where I can’t suspend my disbelief any longer, and the movie fails to reach that. So yeah, this movie is based on a video game, and it can technically be called a movie. Awesome! F*cking finally! The umpteenth time’s the charm, but it happened!

In the end, I’d watch “Tomb Raider” again. Some part of my brain would want to give it a 10/10 just because of what it stands for in the video game movie genre. Not only that, but it also exceeded my expectations. Although I’ve got to be real with you, if I give this movie a 10/10 my pants would be on fire. I’m a critic, not a charity operator. Having watched this, I was engaged, I was intrigued, I was connected to the characters, I thought the people behind this film did a good job at adapting the source material to the screen, and I also thought Vikander did an alright job as Croft to my utmost surprise. So with that being said, I’m going to give “Tomb Raider” a 6/10.

One last thing before we close this out, long before this movie released. There was actually speculation all over the place that the role of Lara Croft would end up going to a different actress than Vikander, specifically Daisy Ridley, AKA the “Star Wars” franchise’s Rey. When I heard about this news, I was in instant approval mode. In fact it’s not just me, other people, including “The Force Awakens” co-star John Boyega thought Daisy Ridley would have made a great Lara Croft.

According to an article from The Hollywood Reporter, it turns out that John Boyega has played the 2013 “Tomb Raider” reboot, happened to be aware of the project, and texted Daisy Ridley saying that she could have a real shot at playing Lara if they decide to base the upcoming “Tomb Raider” film on the 2013 remake game.

Daisy Ridley also admitted that at the time she had been in talks to play the character. Although there was no confirmation. There were some loose ends that needed tying up involving the film. The script still needed to be finished for example. When I found out Daisy Ridley wasn’t going to be the next Lara Croft, I was a bit disappointed. Seeing her killer performance in “The Force Awakens” made me think NOBODY ELSE could be Lara Croft. Having seen this movie, not to mention a couple of “Star Wars” flicks with Ridley as the lead role, I guess I can say to myself that I may have just been complaining a tad more than necessary. After all, if Ridley gotten the role, I could have either overhyped the movie just because she’s in it, or have been disappointed just because I mainly see her as Rey. I like Alicia Vikander as an actress, and I ended up highly appreciating her in “Ex Machina,” but if I were on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” and you asked me who Vikander was in 2016, I probably would have just been stumped or in need of a lifeline. This movie ultimately continues to make me envision a bright future for Vikander, and I hope she gets some more good roles.

Thanks for reading this review! This week I’ll have a review up for “Mission: Impossible” and hopefully I’ll be able to see “Ready Player One” in a few days. If I do see “Ready Player One” in a few days,  I hope it’s great, and maybe I’ll prove to my pals who apparently think this movie’s going to be s*it dead wrong on the nose. Then again, they didn’t read the book. Stay tuned for that review, my “Mission: Impossible” review, and whatever other content this movie reviewing moron can give you. I want to know, did you see “Tomb Raider?” What did you think about it? Did you see the Angelina Jolie “Tomb Raider” films? Did you play any of the games? Leave your comments down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!